Steve Pike

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Memphis Moments
5:51 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

The Flood of 1927

In Arkansas, the Mississippi River Flood of 1927
Library of Congress

Flooding along the Mississippi River is a danger that has always existed. Today, we have some protection against the forces of nature through improved levee and flood-wall systems.

But, in the early years of the 20th Century, such protection was minimal at best, and the yearly floods were a part of life on the Mississippi.

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Memphis Moments
5:50 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Joe Rosenthal Wide World/Associated Press/Library of Congress

May 27th, the last Monday in May, is Memorial Day. Americans pause to remember and honor those who died defending our country. The observance began at Waterloo, NY on May 5, 1865, as a tribute to Union Soldiers.

For years, Southern states had separate Memorial Days. For example, Tennessee's was June 3.

Memorial Day now honors the dead of all wars in which the United States has fought. Congress declared it a Federal Holiday in 1971. Tennessee is nicknamed the Volunteer State because so many of its citizens have enlisted when needed.

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Memphis Moments
5:50 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Hernando De Soto

Engraving of Hernando De Soto
Credit John Sartain

The famed Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto, the first European to see the Mississippi River, died on May 21, 1542.

De Soto and his men had marched hundreds of miles through much of the Southeast. By the time of his death, De Soto had lost at least 1/3 of his men to disease, malnutrition, and constant warfare with the Native Americans.

After his death, the remaining Spaniards traveled down the Mississippi, made their way to Mexico, and then back home.

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Memphis Moments
5:50 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Abe Fortas

Associate Justice Abe Fortas

Abe Fortas may be the only Supreme Court Justice whose first career was in a dance band. The son of Jewish immigrants from England, Fortas grew up on Pontotoc Street in downtown Memphis. His father encouraged him to play the violin, and, by thirteen, he was playing in a dance band called “the Blue Medley Boys.”

The young sensation, nicknamed “Fiddlin' Abe,” earned enough to supplement his college scholarship at Southwestern University, today's Rhodes College. His passion for music and the arts remained with him throughout his life.

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Memphis Moments
5:48 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Elmwood Cemetery

The Bridge Leading to Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery, founded in 1852, is the oldest active cemetery in Memphis. Fifty citizens put up $500 each to purchase and develop a 40-acre parcel of land. Another 40 acres were added later.

The name Elmwood was selected by a drawing from a list of proposed names. Elm trees had to be planted afterwards. 

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